Thought Catalog
April 14, 2017

Why Staying Friends With Your Ex On Social Media Is A Guarantee You’ll Never Move On

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I finally blocked him on Facebook. It took hours to do and getting really angry and now I’m just overwhelmed with sadness and tears like it’s the end all over again. I feel terrible and guilty, and despite getting angry, I didn’t block him out of anger, but self-preservation.

Because I never let go. Because he said he wasn’t ready for something serious but was open to that changing, and I’ve been sitting here every day waiting for that change. Every morning I hoped today would be the day.

I had unfollowed him and never stalked his Facebook page, and there’s zero indication of a relationship on Instagram, so I had no idea his new relationship had moved so far so fast and almost immediately after he ended ours. All the unknown did was make me build up my own fantasy of him rushing back to me, and interpreting every perceived silence as a reaction to something I must have done. Being friends on social media made me focus on whether or not he would interact with whatever I posted and that it meant something either way. It’s been this heavy weight I’ve carried around my neck all this time, this crushing burden I chose as my reality that I’ve constantly tried to deny. I thought I could let go without letting go.

I hated the agony of anticipation but was also terrified of losing my connection, which I felt was my possible way back in. Still more focused on getting him back than on healing myself. But like with most decisions when it comes to relationships, the best decisions feel like the worst. Counterintuitive. I’ve never cut off a guy I once dated who still keeps in touch with me.

My first instinct was to unfriend him the morning after he ended it but I felt bad. I felt bad about being “mean” to a guy who just told me he didn’t want to date me anymore. What?! But I should have immediately shown him what his life would be like without me in it. And more importantly, been in a better place to actually let go and move on. (But he said he might come back!) It’s like an alcoholic hanging out at a bar but not drinking.

That first day felt like a week, the third felt like three. But the weight lifted off me and I felt euphoric. I felt as good and confident and me as I did when we first started dating. The lightness in my chest was almost indescribable. I felt like I could blow away with the wind.

I feel like I have ME back. I no longer feel less than. I feel more whole. I wouldn’t have had I not blocked him and been able to get some distance.

I also feel heartbroken all over again. But there’s no longer an electronic channel of my energy directly to him. Getting him back is now only 23% of my motivation instead of 98%, and falling. Things can only improve from here.

Staying friends with my exes explains the crushing depression of my 20s. I thought it was tough and strong and mature to remain friends with them while they moved on and I never really did. All it did was crush my soul. Had I walked, I might have been able to BE friends with them later, and I would have saved myself years of heartache.

To quote the alt-country rock band, Mother Truckers,

“Being strong ain’t about lifting weights, it’s about knowing how to put them down.”

I’ve always put others perceived feelings above mine. Finally putting my own wellbeing first instead of choosing suffering is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. I’m a different person now, all because of one simple yet difficult choice.

I’m open to whatever the Universe brings me. I trust it and myself, maybe for the first time. Everything will happen exactly as it should, exactly when it should. The outcome is not up to me. Improving myself is my only responsibility.

Little tip from me in my 20s: don’t move to the city your long distance boyfriend lives in AFTER you break up. And definitely don’t do it twice. TC mark